Red Sox

Red Sox MLB offseason calendar: Important dates to remember for arbitration, free agency, opt outs

Red Sox MLB offseason calendar: Important dates to remember for arbitration, free agency, opt outs

The Red Sox, along with the rest of baseball, are basically in a holding pattern until the World Series, which is scheduled to run from Oct. 22-30.

Once the final out is recorded, however, the offseason begins in earnest. Here are some dates of note, particularly in relation to the Red Sox.

One day after World Series -- Free agency filing

In the case of the Red Sox, this primarily means Rick Porcello, Mitch Moreland, Steve Pearce, and Brock Holt. With the Red Sox looking to cut costs, none is expected to return. This begins the five-day quiet period where teams can only negotiate with their own free agents.

Five days after World Series -- Opt-out deadline

Teams must decide whether to extend one-year qualifying offers of roughly $18 million to their pending free agents, who then have 15 days to accept. This is also the deadline for players to exercise opt-outs, which for the Red Sox means J.D. Martinez. The Red Sox can still make Martinez a qualifying offer, which will entitle them to draft pick compensation if he signs elsewhere. Qualifying Martinez is an easy decision, since he will decline it and then draw interest as the premier slugger on the market if he opts out. This could be the day his Red Sox career officially ends, especially if the team intends to cut nearly $40 million in payroll to drop below the $208 million luxury tax threshold.

Nov. 3 -- Gold Glove winners

The only Red Sox with shots at nominations are center fielder Jackie Bradley and right fielder Mookie Betts, both defending winners. Betts is shooting for his fourth straight award, while Bradley is gunning for his second. While Betts remains an elite defender statistically, the advanced metrics suggested a down year for Bradley, for whatever that's worth.

Nov. 4 -- Awards finalists

The Red Sox are unlikely to factor into any of these announcements, which reveal the three finalists in each of the major awards. While in other years shortstop Xander Bogaerts, third baseman Rafael Devers, and even Betts could make cases for MVP consideration, they shouldn't sniff the top three, not with Anaheim's Mike Trout, Houston's Alex Bregman, and Oakland's Marcus Semien dominating the WAR leaderboard. Left-hander and 19-game winner Eduardo Rodriguez will earn some Cy Young votes, but not enough to finish in the top three of a group that includes Houston's Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole, as well as Texas left-hander Mike Minor.

Nov. 7 -- Silver Slugger Awards

The Red Sox could be well-represented here, between Bogaerts, Betts, and Martinez. As great a year as Devers had, Bregman (.296-41-112) was better. Martinez will be competing primarily against AL home run leader Jorge Soler of the Royals and ageless Twins slugger Nelson Cruz.

Nov. 11-14 -- GM meetings

The meetings will be held in Scottsdale, Ariz., and we have no idea who'll be calling the shots for Boston. For now, it's the four-headed monster of Eddie Romero, Brian O'Halloran, Zack Scott, and Raquel Ferreira. It could also be a new head of baseball operations, whether that's Andrew Friedman, Chaim Bloom, Billy Beane, Derek Falvey, or maybe even Theo Epstein. With ownership pledging to take its time finding a replacement for Dave Dombrowski, and virtually every executive in the game on site, don't be surprised if these meetings end up serving as a recruiting trip.

The major award winners will also be announced over these four days, but as noted earlier, the Red Sox won't factor in Rookie of the Year, Manager of the Year, Cy Young, or MVP.

Nov. 18 -- Comeback Players of the Year

This award is only worth noting for the candidates the Red Sox could field next year -- namely, Chris Sale and Nathan Eovaldi, and maybe David Price.

Nov. 19 -- Designated Hitter of the Year

As mentioned above, this one should come down to Martinez, Soler (who played 56 games in the outfield), and Cruz.

Nov. 19-21 -- Owners Meetings

Will the Red Sox have a GM yet? With the winter meetings only three weeks away, let's hope so.

Dec. 2 -- Non-tender deadline

The Red Sox will have some decisions to make among their arbitration-eligible players. Catcher Sandy Leon and knuckleballer Steven Wright feel like candidates to be set free. Everyone else should be tendered: Betts, Bradley, E-Rod, Matt Barnes, Heath Hembree, Brandon Workman, Andrew Benintendi, and Marco Hernandez. There's a remote shot the Red Sox could cut Bradley free rather than offer him arbitration and a salary that will finish north of $10 million, but they're far more likely to tender him and then trade him this winter.

Dec. 9-12 -- Winter Meetings

The industry's annual gathering, held this year in San Diego, used to be a time for wheeling and dealing. But with teams and agents content to push off decisions into February and even March, it's not the wham-bam showcase it used to be. The Red Sox should be among the most active participants, however, given their many, many needs -- gauging a Betts trade market, finding multiple cheap starters, potentially moving Bradley, searching for a utilityman, backup outfielder, DH, and maybe even a first and second baseman. They should hopefully have selected a GM by this point.

Dec. 12 -- Rule 5 draft

The Red Sox used to be active in the Rule 5 draft, which exposes minor league players with either four or five years of service time (depending on their age when they signed) who aren't on a 40-man roster. They've landed solid big leaguers like left-hander Javier Lopez and jack-of-all-trades Marwin Gonzalez (whom they immediately traded to the Astros in 2011). They've also lost some effective players, like relievers Josh Fields and Ryan Pressly, both in 2012. Under Dave Dombrowski, they basically ignored the Rule 5, taking only veteran infielder Josh Rutledge from the Rockies in 2016. Given their need for cheap talent, don't be surprised if they're more active this year. Players selected must remain on the 25-man roster all season or be offered back to their original clubs for $25,000.

Jan. 10 -- Arbitration figures exchanged

If Betts is still here, then he'll be looking at anywhere from $27-$30 million. Per the invaluable projections at MLB Trade Rumors, here's what the rest of the arb-eligible Red Sox should expect:

Bradley ($11 million), Rodriguez ($9.5 million), Benintendi ($4.9 million), Brandon Workman ($3.4 million), Matt Barnes ($3 million), Chris Owings ($3 million), Leon ($2.8 million), Hembree ($1.6 million), Wright ($1.5 million), Gorkys Hernandez ($1 million), Marco Hernandez ($700,000).

Arbitration hearings will then be held from Feb. 3-21 in Phoenix.

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In appreciation of Brock Holt, whose job with Red Sox might be gone, but whose legacy is secure

In appreciation of Brock Holt, whose job with Red Sox might be gone, but whose legacy is secure

The transactions came in quick succession as the winter meetings wrapped on Thursday in San Diego. First, the Red Sox selected infielder Jonathan Arauz from the Astros in the Rule 5 draft. A couple of hours later, they inked infielder Jose Peraza to a one-year, $3 million deal.

Both are utility infielders, and their arrivals increase the likelihood that we'll be saying goodbye to Brock Holt this winter. 

From a bottom-line perspective, it's hard to argue. Holt turns 32 in June, has battled injuries the past four years and should make more than $3 million annually on a multi-year deal. The Red Sox need to get younger and cheaper, and that includes the bench.

If this is it, though, Holt deserves more of a sendoff than a line in the transaction wire, because his impact on the field, in the clubhouse, and especially in the community far outstripped his modest 5-foot-10 frame.

From high school (where he barely broke 100 pounds as a freshman) to junior college to Rice University to the major leagues, Holt beat long odds each step of the way. That a throw-in acquired with Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan before the 2013 season could earn Rookie of the Year votes and then make an All-Star team defied reason. That the same player would hit for the cycle not once, but twice -- including in the postseason -- while winning two World Series and becoming a gritty heart-and-soul fan favorite, let's just say guys hit that lottery maybe once in a generation.

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"I know and I've kind of gotten a taste of it coming here that certain players just really seem to bond with the fan base," said new baseball boss Chaim Bloom. "He's certainly been one of those. That's not something that's lost on any of us."

Holt brought a fun-loving energy to a clubhouse that needed it in good times and bad. Boston can be a meat grinder even when things are going well, and supporting players who take the edge off are essential. Kevin Millar mastered that role in 2004, while Jonny Gomes followed suit in 2013. That was Holt's job, too, whether he was serving as Andrew Benintendi's All-Star publicist, re-christening the 10th month on the calendar as Brocktober, or wearing a Cobra Kai-inspired headband around the locker room that others soon copied.

Holt had a knack for cracking up his teammates. After Mitch Moreland's three-run homer delivered the team its first win of 2019 in Seattle, Holt sauntered past Moreland in the clubhouse with an ice cream cone, gave it a lick, and said, "Hey Mitch, my mom says, 'Way to go,'" and then just walked out. (His mom later confirmed this account on Twitter).

He famously asked a shorts-wearing Bill Belichick if he was, "going to put some pants on," before facing the Packers on a cold October night in 2018 when the Red Sox were honored by the Patriots as World Series champions.

The night he completed the first cycle in postseason history with a ninth-inning home run to complete a rout of the Yankees, the megawatt smile on Holt's face as he rounded third and returned to the dugout could've powered the sun.

Holt's joyful persona extended to his toddler son, Griff, a glasses-clad Instagram star who developed a cult following for giggling while raiding a box of Life Cereal in the pantry, or pointing at a billboard of David Ortiz and exclaiming, "Big Papi!" or hitting what he called, "Big bomb!" with an oversized whiffle ball bat.

Holt's many viral moments with his son became all the more poignant when viewed through the lens of his tireless devotion to children's causes. He's a four-time Roberto Clemente Award nominee for community service, and he routinely leads the Red Sox in charitable appearances. He served as Jimmy Fund captain for the past five years, and his Brock Stars ticket program brought a Jimmy Fund patient to every Tuesday home game for batting practice. Director of community relations Sarah Narracci has long referred to Holt as her "go-to guy" who never says no.

"He has a great heart," manager Alex Cora said when Holt was nominated for this year's Clemente award, and if this is indeed the end of Holt's Red Sox career, he'll leave an outsized legacy that "5-10, 180" doesn't begin to capture.

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MLB Rumors: These six teams pursued Martin Perez before Red Sox landed him

MLB Rumors: These six teams pursued Martin Perez before Red Sox landed him

Martin Perez is no Gerrit Cole or Stephen Strasburg. But the veteran left-hander reportedly drew a good amount of interest in free agency before the Boston Red Sox scooped him up.

A "handful" of MLB teams, including the American League East foe Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays, pursued Perez before the Red Sox agreed to terms with him Thursday night, MassLive's Chris Cotillo reported.

Perez's surface-level stats aren't very inspiring: The 28-year-old posted a 5.12 ERA with the Minnesota Twins last season after the worst campaign of his career with the Texas Rangers in 2018 (6.22 ERA, 1.78 WHIP).

But what Perez does provide is durability: He's appeared in at least 32 games in three of the last four seasons, topping 165 innings in each of those campaigns.

Durable left-handers aren't a dime a dozen in MLB, which explains why Perez drew interest from several clubs looking to fill out their rotations entering 2020.

The Venezuela native should be a rotation-filler in Boston, projecting as Boston's fifth starter behind Chris Sale, David Price, Eduardo Rodriguez and Nathan Eovaldi with Rick Porcello leaving to join the New York Mets in free agency.

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